Scope and arrangement
The majority of the Knorr papers is comprised of set designs and production materials. The collection illustrates Knorr’s multiple talents and his unifying role as a producer. The designs and plans include Knorr’s early work for the Capitol and Roxy theaters, a formative time in his career. Amongst the designs are those of the Milton Berle shows (1948-1952) and the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants in the early 1960s. The production materials on Friars Club Roasts, as well as the Eisenhower birthday and tribute programs, provide a deeper view into the intricacies involved in presenting large-scale productions. The personal material is limited to sketchbooks from World War I, with some private moments described, and an alumni book that gives some additional biographical and professional information. A sketch book in the oversized series hints at Ruth Knorr being his muse and the sounding board for his artistic expressions. There is little to no personal material in the collection.
The Arthur and Ruth Knorr papers and designs are arranged in six series:
- 1918 - 1966; Undated1 box
The Personal Papers series contains documents illustrating Knorr’s production insight and inspirations. Books, show programs, and correspondence are included, along with art by Knorr and his headshots.
- 1908 - 1965; Undated4 boxes
The Professional Papers series contains biographies, resumes, news clippings, presentations, sheet music, speeches, programs, proposals, reference materials and correspondence with performers, agents and friends from within the film, television, and theater fields.
- 1920 - 1986; Undated1 box
The Ruth Knorr Professional Papers series contains correspondence, photographs, news clippings, artistic reference material, programs, and production contracts. The series also contains material from productions in which Ruth Knorr performed: Music Box Revue (1925-1926) Peter Pan (1925) and Scandals (1926-1927).
- 1925 - 1966; Undated32 boxes
Production materials are organized by venues, corporations, and show titles. The types of materials included are research material, production notes, photographs of sets/performances/models/film stills, negatives, scripts, casting agent lists, programs, itineraries, catalogues, swatches, contracts, expenses, and proposals for un-produced works. The productions represented in this series vary widely, ranging from Milton Berle’s television program to the Miss Universe pageant. There are industrial shows, charity benefits and political events included, as well.
- 1923 - 1966; Undated71 boxes
This series is organized by venues, corporations, and show titles. The series consists of blueprints, elevations, designs, sketches and some notes. The dominant portion of the series represents Knorr’s work at the Roxy Theater. Although the shows for which they were used are not labeled, the bulk of design plans are dated. The series also includes designs and plans for the Capitol Theater, Madison Square Garden, and other venues in and out of the United States. Designs for television shows include Texaco Star Theatre (1948-1952) and The Jimmy Dean Show (1958). Industrial show designs for Rotary International Conventions, the National Auto Show, and the Miss Universe/Miss USA pageants are present as well, among other events covering the spectrum of Knorr’s work throughout the entertainment and corporate industries.
- 1925 - 1964; Undated15 boxes
The oversized materials are organized as a reflection of the other series. The bulk of the Ruth Knorr Professional Papers in the oversized series consists of signed photographs of fellow actresses she encountered in her career. Of particular note is an autographed photo of Marion Davies.